Apparel Maker GAP Apologize for ‘Racist’ Ad

Marketing Ad Misunderstood

Apparel maker Gap on Tuesday has apologized for an image it used in an ad that some critics tagged ‘Racist Ad’ saying it was racially insensitive.

The ad in question depicts four young girls that are part of Le Petit Cirque, a traveling circus company that features boys and girls between the ages of 5 to 14. In the image, an African-American girl is posing next to a taller Caucasian girl that is propping her arm on the younger girl’s head.

racist ad 1

Image – Gap

“As a brand with a proud 46 year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended,” said Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix in a statement to Fortune.

Gap says it intends to remove the one image that consumers found offensive. But it isn’t planning to back away from the broader themes of that campaign.

Twitter commenters had been quick to bounce on the image, with many claiming the ad cast the black child as an armrest. And an added twist to this story: the two girls in the image are reportedly sisters.

Here’s an example of some of the feedback the image generated on social media.

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Image – Twitter

Gap was quick to issue an apology and is moving to replace the image with a different photo that was taken from the same photo shoot. The new image can be seen in this screenshot.

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Image – Gap

Big brands are having to increasingly navigate the turbulent nature of social media, where ad campaigns, new products and tweets can be harshly criticized in a matter of hours. Often times, brands are quick to react to this feedback by pulling the offensive material and issuing a swift apology, as Gap did in this instance.

The GapKids campaign is part of a broader initiative by Gap to promote the empowerment of girls. The campaign, which first launched last year for the company’s fall collection, features girls that are drummers, skateboarders, entrepreneurs and inventors. Although it’s removing that one image, it isn’t planning to back away from the broader themes of that campaign.

“This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment,” Felix said.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in social media (Facebook), Paige Marine King said there is nothing racial about the image, tagging people as just being insensitive. Also Dan NcDougall uploaded another image from the same company (Gap) where an Africa-American girl propped her hand on a Caucasian girls head, exactly the same way as being criticized. (See Image below)

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Image – Facebook

TTE’s Opinion on the purported racist ad

I strongly do not believe the company had a racial intent while producing the image, they were only looking for the best image that will showcase their new range of products.

Most African-Americans are being too sensitive to everything and it is inferiority complex that is affecting them. Fear of marginalization.

Let us all see one another as one so the world can be a better place for all. (Love is all we need)

Part of this story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

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Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is a Social Entrepreneur and an experienced Disaster Manager. I love discussing new business trends and marketing tips. I share ideas and tips that will help you grow your business.

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